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The complete guide to Jobs in Port Elizabeth
Port Elizabeth (PE), is now called Gqeberha. This is the Xhosa name for the Baakens River which flows through the city. It is also known as the friendly city and gives one access to the well renowned Garden Route that runs between PE and Cape Town. It forms part of the Nelson Mandela Bay metropolitan (together with Uitenhage and Dispatch) a city with over 1,3 million people. If you’re looking for jobs in PE, this is the ultimate guide for you.
The unemployment rate is over 36% and the largest economic sectors is manufacturing, finance, community services and transport. In manufacturing many automotive manufacturers have located themselves in Port Elizatheth. The agriculture industry also drives PE economy together with the fact that it has two ports namely the Port Elizabeth Port and the deep-water Port of Ngqura at the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ).
The Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is South Africa's number one, leading prime industrial zone as well as the preferred investment destination in Africa for local and international companies seeking a transshipment hub, gateway to the African and world markets. The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) is a public entity, wholly owned by the Eastern Cape Provincial Government, mandated to develop and operate the 9 003 hectare Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
What are the main job opportunities in Port Elizabeth
In the agriculture industry besides for pineapples, chicory, oranges, prickly pears and dairy products the eastern cape is particularly successful in farming angora goats and has established South Africa as world leaders in wool and mohair. In fact South Africa produces the most mohair in the world and Port Elizabeth is known as the mohair capital of the world as its ports handles the bulk of South African exports and most companies who operate in this sector are headquartered in Port Elizabeth. At one stage the ostrich feather industry was an important one too however this is no longer a large industry in the Eastern Cape. There is also an important and growing aquaculture sector that produces abalone, mussels and oysters.
Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and Ford (produce their engines in PE) have all built manufacturing facilities in the Eastern Cape close to Port Elizabeth. Obviously this create numerous opportunities for other industries to supply these core manufacturers. For example smelters and various component manufacturers such as automotive glass, catalyst converters and vehicle tires have set up manufacturing plants close by too.
Other Chinese automotive manufacturers have also developed and invested in manufacturing facilities in the Coega IDZ such as First Automotive Works (FAW) and Beijing Automobile Corporation (BAIC) creating many employment opportunities.
The Maritime Sector or ocean economy has also been growing as national government has decided the Coega IDZ is the perfect location to establish an LNG hub. The reasons for this is the present infrastructure that has already been developed, environmental impact studies that were already done in 2006 and that there is a deep water sea port adjacent to the site. Dedisa, gas-fired power plant, has already been operating since 2016. The Eastern Cape has also become the countries top site for wind farms and the turbines to drive this sector. The turbines are in-fact manufactured locally in Port Elizabeth.
The tourism industry is also one of the largest in the country and is also expanding rapidly. This obviously has a knock on effect in the hospitality and catering sectors amongst many others.
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What activities are there to do in Port Elizabeth After work
Port Elizabeth is famous for its beaches and three of them have International Blue Flag Status namely, Kings Beach, Wells Estate Beach and Humewood Beach. This means that they have met specific criteria for water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety and environmental management. Other excellent beaches are Hobie Beach and Pollock Beach.
Sardinia Bay is regarded as one of the best walking beaches with miles of unspoilt coastline and it has been declared a Marine Reserve. Snorkeling and scuba-diving are very popular along this beach. Sardinia Bay is also the starting point of the very popular eight-kilometer Sacramento hiking trail.
The Addo Elephant National Park is the third largest National Park in South Africa. The only two larger National Parks in South Africa are the Kruger National Park and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. It is quick and easy to get to the Addo Elephant National Park as it is under one hour away from PE and less than 70km. There is over 600 elephants in the park and other mammals too.
Even closer to Port Elizabeth is the Kragga Kamma Game Park which is only 15km away and a 20 minute drive. Unlike the rest of South Africa which is known for the BIG 5, Port Elizabeth is well known for the BIG 7. This is because in a single day one can do a tour from Algoa Bay where you can charter a boat. On the sea tour you can get to see both the Southern right whales and Great white sharks the other two big mammals that live in South Africa. But while you are on this tour with the huge biodiversity in Port Elizabeth you are likely to come across some African Penguins, gannetry and dolphins too.
One of the biggest tourist attractions is Bayworld which is made up of a Museum, Oceanarium and Snakepark. Some of the impressive displays on show is a 15m skeleton of the last southern right whale harpooned in Algoa Bay and a life sized reconstruction of a dinosaur known as Algoasaurus.
Other interesting museums and reserves to visit are the Van Staden Wild Flower Reserve, South African Air Force Museum, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum and the Donkin Reserve. The Donkin reserve consists of a pyramid and lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1861 by Sir Rufane Donkin who also built the pyramid as a monument in memory of his deceased wife.
There is also the Donkin Heritage Trail that links 51 places of historical interest in the old Hill area of Central Port Elizabeth.
Where to live in Port Elizabeth
Port Elizabeth consists of the following suburbs: Summerstrand, Mill Park, Walmer, Humewood, Port Elizabeth Central, Bluewater Bay, Greenacres, Newtin Park, Beachview, Sardina Bay, Blue Horizon Bay, Seaviw, Kini Bay, Theecombe, Thornhill, Chelsea, Cotswold and Schoenmakerskop.
The best area to stay is Summerstrand (South of Central Port Elizabeth) which is a coastal area and it is also the main entertainment and leisure centre in town. There are lots of excellent hotels located in this area. It is also close to Oceanarium, a golf course, schools, a university and the Summerstrand Village shopping centre. Pollock Beach is close by and is excellent and well known for surfing.
Walmer also an excellent and affluent place to stay however it is located more inland,10 minutes from the beach and 5 minutes from the airport. It is more suburban and family orientated than Summerstand. It has it own shops (Wlamer Park shopping mall) and golf course close by.
Sunridge Park is a little further out than Walmer so prices are more reasonable. It has its own shops however a smaller selection than the areas that are more central.
Lorraine is even more inland than Walmer and is just over 12km from PE central. There are many sectional title developments there and property prices are even more reasonable for these reasons.
Pinelands and Fairview and are close to Lorraine and offer similar living standards.
Mill Park is closer to PE central them Walmer. Its upmarket, has two schools and two hospitals in the vicinity.
Bluewater Bay is a small seaside suburb located 15 minutes north of PE central.
How to find a job in Port Elizabeth
Even so the economy in Port Elizabeth is smaller than Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town there are still many recruiters and companies in Port Elizabeth that use the Executive Placements job portal to search for candidates. If they are searching for niche skills they may even relocate a candidate from another part of the country to Port Elizabeth. It is said that many people are disappointed when they first arrive in Port Elizabeth as it is a smaller city than what they are used to however the city grows on them so much that everyone is disappointed when and if the time comes to leave. Make sure not to ignore this city when thinking about a place to live and work.
Frequently asked questions
How do salaries in Port Elisabeth compare to the rest of the country?
Salaries are overall lower in Port Elizabeth than Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban however the cost of living is also lower.
Is it easy to get a job in Port Elizabeth
Port Elizabeth has a high unemployment rate however it is a growing city. As it is a growing city and many industries are expanding in Port Elizabeth there are many opportunities in these expanding industries.
What is the fastest growing industries in Port Elizabeth
The Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is based in Port Elizabeth and it is their initiative and mandate to grow many industries. Some of the industries are already receiving lots of investment and are growing such as the automotive manufacturing industry. Other industries that are receiving substantial investment are the alternative energy sector and Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) sector.